Iain Rowe's choreographic work has been seen in Europe, the United States and Canada having amassed over twenty original works in a wide range of stylistic modes since he first began crafting his own compositions. He joined The Royal Danish Ballet in 2004, performing the work of internationally renowned artists such as Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Karine Guizzo, Jorma Uotinen, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui until he relocated to New York City in 2009.
His move to NYC was prompted by a desire to focus on the development of his choreographic voice and explore his interest in compositional study, leading him to complete a master’s degree in choreographic studies from New York University. Since this time his work has garnered significant attention from both critics and audience members alike. In 2015, Iain moved to Toronto where he has continued to create new works for both classical ballet and contemporary dance companies to great acclaim.
One of Iain's strengths is his ability to create highly adaptive work that challenges and engages the performer and audience. As part of our cultural mandate we're keen to explore site-specific dance work and were so thrilled to work with Iain as our first dance focused Artist-in-Residence at the Devonshire. We'll be showing his work later this year at the Devonshire, so stay tuned - and in the meantime check out our interview with the internationally acclaimed choreographer.
Tell us a bit about your choreographic process?
Choreographic process is highly individual. I find that the process itself changes depending on the project. One thing I find helpful is to have an idea of “framework". This framework can consist of the music I plan to use, the overall feeling I am trying to create for the viewer or it can even be the particular performer(s) I am creating on themselves, in terms of what their strengths are, etc. To have this framework assists in the creation of material.
How did your time at the Drake Devonshire influence this process and the ensuing piece?
My time at the Drake Devonshire was profoundly helpful in the creative process of upcoming material. The beautiful environment was inspiring and the quiet calm that comes from escaping a high-energy city was welcome. The opportunity allowed me to become more in-tune with my creative instinct.
What inspires your work?
Everything inspires me. I have a deep love for art in general and am continually fascinated at the way different art-forms resonate from person-to-person in their own unique way. Because I have a love for physical movement and dance in general I will look for ways to use the format specifically to elicit particular responses from the audience.
How has your experience choreographing at The Royal Danish Ballet and in New York City influenced your practice?
I am very fortunate for my years with The Royal Danish Ballet. It is such an internationally respected company and there is an enormous and varied repertoire. I was able to learn and perform a vast range of work from many different artists and this, no doubt, influences my own work now.
What is the landscape like for an independent choreographer in Toronto?
In terms of being an independent choreographer, I am reacquainting myself with the Toronto landscape. I grew up here and lived in the city until I was 18. After living abroad for all these years the city itself has seen great changes. So, there is much that is different and that is exciting for me.
Any exciting projects coming down the pipeline?
I am in the middle of developing material with a fantastic singer/songwriter named Lydia Ainsworth. Her new album is about to be released through Arbutus Records in Montreal and I’m really excited for it. Movement and dance has great power. It is heartening to meet other artists who, although they may work in different forms, understand and want to celebrate this. I am also hoping to further develop some material I started while at the Drake Devonshire. I hope it to be a dance-work very much inspired by my time there. I have for years now been in love with the Drake Underground space at the downtown hotel. To be able to create a dance-work for this space would be exciting. Stay tuned!
Stay tuned indeed, be sure to check back in for performance dates and/or sign up for our Drake Art mailer!